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Automated Bus Lane Enforcement Citations Begin Sunday, June 16

Automated Bus Lane Enforcement Citations Begin Sunday, June 16

June 12,2024

It was just after noon on Tuesday, May 28. Riders ascended the center-median raised platform of the 82nd Avenue Tempo Station, anticipating their quick ride to Uptown Oakland aboard Tempo. However, instead of allowing riders to board the low-floor bus, now ubiquitous along International Boulevard, safe access was entirely blocked by a double-bottom dump truck.

The massive truck, capable of carrying up to a 20-ton payload, parked at the Tempo Station, and the driver exited and walked away. This illegally parked truck forced the Tempo bus out of the bus-only lane, preventing it from safely docking at 82nd Avenue and causing our Bus Operator to bypass the station and its waiting riders.

The truck driver's actions on May 28 were egregious but not isolated. On that single Tuesday, while AC Transit tested new software, an astonishing 38 instances of illegal parking in the Tempo bus-only lanes, which extend from the San Leandro Transit Center to Uptown Oakland, were identified.

Each instance jeopardizes the safety of our riders, frontline employees, and other motorists by forcing a bypass or requiring riders to walk into active travel lanes to board and exit the bus. For wheelchair riders, the situation is more concerning, as vehicles parking in the bus only lanes prevent operators from safely deploying the ADA wheelchair ramps.

To promote a culture of safety and discourage the increasing number of illegally parked vehicles, AC Transit will begin using automated bus lane enforcement citations along the entirety of the Tempo corridor starting Sunday, June 16.

Any vehicle illegally parking in a bus only lane, including taxis, rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft, and delivery trucks, will be subject to a $110 fine. This fine must be paid within 21 days of issuance.

Dump truck drives through bus only lane
Photo captured by automated cameras onboard Tempo bus of dump truck parked in bus only lane on International Boulevard.

AC Transit was instrumental in passing laws such as AB 917, which now allows transit agencies across the state to use forward-facing cameras to cite vehicles illegally parked in transit-only lanes. Tempo Line 1T's forward-facing cameras began issuing citations in November 2020, following extensive public outreach and education efforts that started in September 2019.

Our transit district's warning notices about bus only lane violations included advisories distributed in person, via emails, and through AC Transit's social platforms, including the vast subscribers of eNews. Oakland City Councilmembers and community-based organizations amplified these efforts. Additionally, Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputies and Oakland’s Parking Enforcement teams also distributed advisories directly to merchants and placed them on the windshields of vehicles illegally parked in the bus-only lanes.

Now, after almost four years of issuing citations through our legacy software, AC Transit is now shifting to more advanced artificial intelligence (AI) hardware and software developed specifically for object detection. Engineered by Bay Area-based Hayden AI, this software is trained to identify lane lines, bus lanes, bus stop dimensions, and bus sizes, ensuring precise violation detection. Hayden has successfully deployed its AI technology at transit agencies in New York City, Santa Monica, and Washington, D.C.

How does automated lane enforcement work?

  • Two small forward-facing cameras are mounted in the Tempo bus windshields.
  • When the camera system identifies an illegally parked vehicle in a bus only lane, it creates an “evidence package”.
  • The evidence package includes a 10-second video capturing the violation, a photograph depicting the violation, an image of the license plate of the offending vehicle, and the time and location of the incident.
  • The evidence package is the only data recorded by the camera system.
  • The evidence package is transmitted to a secure cloud that can only be accessed by our transit law enforcement.
  • Trained law enforcement, and not the AI software, will review the evidence and determine if a citation must be issued to the registered vehicle owner.

Since 2022, the Sheriff's Department staff have reviewed 21,967 potential illegal parking violation evidence packages captured by our legacy forward-facing camera software. With the deployment of Hayden's new object detection hardware and software, a significant increase in illegal parking violations is anticipated.

Our transit district embraces the anticipated increase, not as a means to boost revenues, but as an opportunity to address and ideally eliminate the safety hazards caused by motorists illegally parking in the bus only lanes.

AC Transit acknowledges the concerns surrounding the application of AI technology. This is why we have collaborated with a leading AI developer to ensure the responsible deployment of this automated camera enforcement and that the deployment closely adheres to California law including:

  • Cameras will not capture anything inside the bus and are angled to focus solely on cars parked on the lane.
  • Any image that does not contain evidence of a parking violation must be destroyed within 15 days.
  • Any image evidence of a parking violation captured by the system will be destroyed within six months of the incident unless the citation is under dispute. In such cases, the evidence will be retained until 60 days after the final resolution of the citation.
  • The AI camera system has no facial recognition or other biometric detection abilities.

AC Transit aims to expand automated camera enforcement beyond the bus only lanes of the Tempo corridor. Our transit district is outfitting a total of 100 buses with AI-enabled forward-facing cameras to discourage motorists from engaging in illegal parking at bus stops across our network. The expanded implementation of automated bus stops with bus lane enforcement is forecasted to start in September 2024.

Alongside automated bus lane enforcement along the bustling International Boulevard-Tempo corridor, AC Transit will introduce additional enhancements this summer. These include the installation of vertical posts for improved bus lane separation, the addition of new speed limit and warning signs, and all-new pavement markings, all aimed at enhancing reliability and safety for transit operations.